Monday, March 23, 2015

Fancy exercise studio review - how the other half work out

Sadly, my ClassPass membership has come to an end. ClassPass lets you pay a monthly fee to try out all sorts of specialized exercise studios in your area (3x/studio/month). I worked out really hard and as soon as the weather breaks, I plan to post gratuitous pictures of my baby and I that are really designed to show off my guns and six pack. I really, really enjoyed my month of trying out fitness classes. Now it will be back to the treadmill and Jillian Michaels. Which are both great, but it's probably good for me to do some other stuff here and there. A year ago, I probably would have continued and paid for it on my own. But as much as I liked it, driving an hour round trip to classes that are 50-60 minutes long is just not realistic for me long term.

I tried a bunch of classes. Here's my take on all of them.

Spin at a fancy spin studio: 

I was pretty devoted to my spin classes at the YMCA, the teacher was amazing. The price was also right. I'm not sure how much this place is a month, but I'm guessing too much. They had good classes, I definitely sweat like crazy and they even had little weights on the bike and one track would be an arm workout. I don't think it was anything better than any other gym though. As far as I could tell, the extra bucks get you:
  • Someone giving you an ice cold, scented towel as you cool down. This is how the other half lives, I guess.
  • An instructor allowed to swear, including but not limited to F bombs. I approve.
  • Reserving a bike. You sign up online, and when you arrive, they tell you a number to go to.
  • A keurig in the lobby
Final verdict: All nice stuff, but for those of us living a budgeted lifestyle, not really worth it.


Apparently when I was recovering from childbirth, I missed a memo that workout shorts are dead, and everyone is now going to wear capris or pants. I know it's cold out, but I get hot when I work out, so all you Richie Riches will just have to stare at my pasty pale legs, sorry. Except at barre, where I was informed that shorts were not allowed, only pants. They didn't explicitly say it, but it was clear that also Ross Dress for Less outfits were not allowed, only Lululemon. The rest of the class pretty much followed suit. You do all these tiny little movements that are somehow intensely painful and you get that crazy muscle shake thing going. This device was a key player. 

Final verdict: Probably a good way to get bikini ready but only if you already own a significant amount of Lululemon.

Crossfit: I don't get nervous about new workout classes anymore because I'm in my thirties and don't care, but this one I was nervous for.
I've read a lot about it, but none of it seems to be in English so I really had no idea what to expect. From my brief experience, it had the nicest people. Everyone was really welcoming and not at all the roided up Paleo weirdos I'd been picturing. Somehow the coaches managed to help me without drawing any attention to the obvious fact that I was clueless.

My weight is the close bar, just compare it to the one across from mine...

However - it was confusing. I had been running and lifting and doing jumping jacks and all this stuff and the coach was explaining something and he was like "but don't worry we will do more of those in the workout". And I was like...WHAT THE (expletive) have we been doing all this time if this isn't the workout? But I figured it out and followed the white board. I came back a few days later and this time I thought I knew the drill. I kept waiting for them to erase what appeared to be a child's scribbling on the whiteboard and record the workout. Finally I realized that WAS the workout. Furthermore, while they explain it, people stand around with composition books and take notes. I'm not even joking, they legit had the same journals as my students. People had calculators was all too much for a 5am class.

Final verdict: It's up there with the running community for nice people, but I don't need my workout to have math problems in it. 

Yoga: This workout is not new to me, but I did try a new studio. There was a sign up that said something like yoga does good for the world. Based on my experience with it, it's mainly a way for upper middle class women to relax on a Saturday morning but maybe that's just me. I was dying to do Bikram but I held back.

Final verdict: It was totally relaxing and Zen and yogini and I was actually sore from it. 
Which meant that lugging this guy around hasn't left me as jacked as I'd hoped.
Bootcamp: This involved all sorts of craziness and rotating between stations of torture. The guy running it was some sort of sadistic genius who could constantly keep track of where every person in the class was, what they needed to do next, and how to make it even harder.

Final verdict: Every time the teacher took out more materials I prayed he was just setting up early for the next class. We got to squat onto a surfboard and use those giant ropes that people use on Biggest Loser, like the ones on ships, and I've always wanted to do that. A+

Boxing: This was the only 5am class in my area, which is really the only time that actually allows me to get to work when I need to. You got to spar with partners, hit the punching bag, and this one also had stations of torture.

Final verdict: If you want to start your workday feeling simultaneously like a badass and at peace, because you pretend beat up everyone who pisses you off already, this is for you.

I managed to go to 16 classes during my 24 day trial. There's a $20 fee for missing class, which really worked out to motivate me to get up at 4am to make it. While I'll miss getting to go to all these classes, I am excited to gain a little more time back in my life just doing short workouts at home.

There are still some exciting exercise things coming up in my world though! This weekend we start kickball, and have our first family 5k (my first race in almost a year!). Big stuff!

Which of these workouts have you tried, and what did you think?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Baby food - six months in

Now I've become the stereotype of the "it goes so fast!" parent. Every month I'm a broken record "I can't believe he is x months old already!". But it's legit. Tomorrow he'll be six months old. 

I'm risking jinxing myself to publish that a few hours early. When I googled trying to find it (I've seen a lot of moms post it in my working mom BFing facebook group), I read that it might not even be an accurate statistic. I feel like a fraud posting it. Really Dalton gets the lion's share of the credit for being such a good eater.

 But he doesn't have a Facebook because I'm not a weirdo so I'll post for both of us. He was born with a tongue tie (I was going to try to explain that but just google it, it can cause issues with feeding and speech), and both his pediatrician and the ENT we saw when he was a week old were shocked that he wasn't having major trouble latching and was actually gaining weight. Like his mom, he doesn't let things stand in the way when he is hungry. 
He even helps us grocery shop!

I just lucked out that I could help him out with that. Although I have spilled milk on my work clothes pretty much daily, so there is that. 

He's in a heteronormative shirt so we put him in gay pride leg warmers. I only know that word from cards against humanity.
Dalton has now tried 3 vegetables. Green beans, avocado, and broccoli. After 31 years of finding pictures of babies with food on their faces gross, I did, in fact, find it adorable on my own kid. But for the internet's benefit, I'll only post the one after he was all cleaned up.

Post broccoli
The green beans just seemed to mystify him, but he was going nuts for the avocado on the second day. He was a fan of broccoli too. He hasn't quite caught on to the spoon yet, and can only really eat if I let him eat off my finger. Is this normal? His doctor's appointment isn't until next week so I need to crowd source.

I'm not nuts about making his food like GOD FORBID my child eat from a jar. I like cooking, so if it works out, I'll try to have us eating the same thing and puree some for him. If we're having a busy week, I'll get some jars. Or just do whatever he seems to prefer. It's only a few months before he can just eat regular food, anyway, so I'm not too concerned.

A few other random non baby items. 

1. My fashionable friend Casi came over to help me clean out my closet. We set up a What Not to Wear situation, except less mean. It was amazing. I accepted her word as gospel and along with Carolyn's help corralling babies, we had two giant bags to donate in like 10 minutes (actual time, many baby breaks). We even had signs like in the Sex and the City movie.


                    Don't leave me, friend!

2. I really don't miss my old life at all, bars, sleeping in, marathons, I don't care about any of those things. Except for TV. I need some way to re-introduce this back. Every single show that we have on our Hulu favorites has been untouched since January. Literally everyone and their mom is watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Scmidt. We have less than a month until Game of Thrones comes back and I am NOT PLAYING with that. I WILL watch every episode within 24 hours of it airing and I don't care how much coffee I need to drink the next day.

3. I tried the Pioneer Woman Crazy Coffee

It's coffee with coconut oil and butter, just read it, sounds disgusting but it's actually good and she explains it much better than I possibly could. Apparently it's also some Paleo "healthy" thing, which I didn't know until later but it seems fitting since I went to Crossfit twice this week. I'm not sure how adding straight up butter to your coffee is healthy but I'm no scientist. My mom and I had a virtual phone date to try it together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day in the life - Working mom edition

I first did one of these when Dalton was 5 weeks old. I thought it would be cool to do one a month or so to compare but now he’s five months old and I’m just getting around to the second one, what else is new. I kept putting it off until I found a more “typical” day until I finally realized if it was taking this long maybe my typical days weren’t so typical. I know these posts are hit or miss, but I like them, so it's happening.

Warning: If you don’t want to read about breasts, mine in particular, stop reading now and don’t get mad at me if you ignore this warning (you know who you are).
Here we go - Monday, January 16, 2015.

12:39am: Dalton wakes up to eat. I bring him in bed. He eats for five min and I put him back in his crib. 
4:35am: I wake up to work out. I'm  trying out crossfit for the first time today, via Classpass.

Meant to do a screen shot of the alarm, but it was 4:35 am and I barely knew my own name.
4:39am: I'm getting ready and Dalton wakes up again. Perfect, since I usually dream feed him before I leave. Unfortunately hearing his crying means milk leaks everywhere. Hope these Crossfit people don't mind me not knowing how to snatch or anything AND smelling like milk. 

5:00am: Leave for Crossfit. My car is covered with ice. FML. We are more than halfway through March. When is that freaking lamb getting here? Dalton didn't eat as much as I would have liked in order to be comfortable for a workout that I was guessing including jumping. I pump in the car (I have a hands free pumping bra and set everything up before moving, safety first!) on the way.

I've pumped in the car, but never in the dark. Tricky.

I also drink coffee and listen to my audio book (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - AMAZING). 

5:30-6:30 am: Crossfit.


There's enough on the internet about WODs and boxes and snatches already, so I'll leave it at that for now. 

I'm on the whiteboard!

6:50am: Back home with my boys! Eric had just woken Dalton up for the day.

I feed Dalton, and we get him dressed and out the door. Eric takes him to daycare. Saying goodbye to him sucks.

He is. So. Big.

7:15 - 7:45am: I shower and get ready for work.
8:00am: Arrive at work. I like to be there around 7:15-7:30am, but sacrifices must be made for the box (this is what Crossfit gyms are called). This still makes me laugh which is why I could not survive as an actual Crossfitter.

8:10am: Pump, eat breakfast (oatmeal, it increases supply), and get ready for the day. The boiler is broken, which means the building has no heat and it's below freezing outside. This makes pumping even more fun than normal


8:30am: My hands finally stop hurting from lifting the weights.

8:45am: Kids arrive!

9:10am: Music class (my planning time). I run around like a crazy person doing everything I need to do, while I can be mobile.

9:40am: I pump and then I'm chained to one spot, so I need to have everything ready for the day's lesson before I begin. I plan and grade while pumping.

10:00am - 12:50pm: Teach

12:50-1:20pm: Lunch. In the closet, I balance my lunch (chicken teriyaki, black rice, and veggies) on my lap, and eat it while pumping and calling parents. My last parent phone call ends at 1:19, and it's a miracle I didn't spill any liquid gold rushing to pick up my class.

1:20-3:30pm: Teach

3:45pm: Eric and Dalton meet me after dismissal. We have an appointment on the other city of the city at 4:30, so it's a huge time crunch. I was so excited all day to get to see Dalton earlier than usual. Every single day I count down the hours until it's time to pick him up. I feed him in my classroom and we head out.

4:30pm: We are looking to finally start the process on getting a house! Met with a lender for pre-approval.

Dalton doesn't even appreciate what we do for him.
5:30 - 6:00pm: We drive home. Errands are exhausting.

We realized we had nothing planned for dinner, so we decided to stop and get kale smoothies on our way home. Or the Little Caesars deep dish with the bacon wrapped crust. Hot and ready!

Even more amazing than my wildest dreams.

6:45pm: Home! I feed Dalton, then try him out on some green beans.

It’s day 3 for those. He fooled me into thinking he might possibly like them.

After I looked down to refill the spoon, I found this.

 Maybe he’s not so into them.

7:15pm: Exersaucer time for Dalton, pizza time for us. We don’t even need TV anymore. Watching him play and figure out his little world is riveting. New parents are the most ridiculous people, for real.

Love his expressions so much

7:30pm: Bath time, which is the start of Dalton’s bedtime ritual. If we are both home, we do the routine together, because we have no other kids, and what else would we rather be doing? I mean, is there anything cuter than a naked baby? Even with the loaded canon they carry, it’s worth it for the adorableness.

He really likes his bathtime friends.

He doesn't like it when they swim away.

7:45-8:15pm: Dalton gets an olive oil massage (we went to a class on infant massage back in November and have done it every night since, yes, he is a spoiled first born, what of it).

Arm rolls for days. Blurry, because he's a man on the move.

 Then a little more playtime, rolling over practice, and my favorite part of the whole day.

Baby jammies - almost as good as a naked baby

He even made it to his belly once!

The best.
8:25pm: I feed him again. Usually this ends his night, but lately not so much. As best I can tell, it’s because the world is just too exciting to waste time sleeping! I mean, can you blame him? We’re trying to lose the swaddle, but after the 48th time he attacks his own face, I break it out. I have to call in the big guns – the daddy chest. There’s just nothing else that can compete with that.


9:00pm: I wash the day’s bottles (only two, since he got picked up early, this brings me enormous happiness), prepare the next day’s bottles, get my own breakfast and lunch ready, clean up from dinner, and get ready for bed.

9:30pm: I’m up way too late blogging. And eating chocolate.

10:00pm: Find something green to wear for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. I’m getting up early to make crock pot Shepherd’s Pie!

10:15pm: Get into bed and turn on my kindle to read, but I fall asleep before reading even one word.

What's the best and worst part of your average day?


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Starting solids - a long story about something not terribly important

I didn't even realize this weekend was a wild party weekend until I started seeing all the green outfits pop up in my Instagram feed. Oh, how times have changed. 

Our wild partying.

In news that will surprise no one, I've been agonizing over a decision that is really not that important, and neither fork in the road seems to lead to negative consequences. When to start solids? I spent a day asking everyone with kids at work and no one whose kids were over two even remembered because again, not important. But that's how I roll.

Most kids start between 4-6 months. At Dalton's four month appointment, the pediatrician said we could start rice cereal at five months, but there was really no reason to rush since he was gaining weight well and thriving. At first I was really excited and couldn't wait to get started. Then, I did more internet research, which is a terrible idea. First of all, rice cereal has arsenic and will kill your baby. If anyone says their baby ate it, and their baby is with them, clearly they are lying. 

Naturally, you can find tons of support for why starting at various ages is definitely terrible and sure to result in ruining your kid for life. I've already done tons of things that will ensure his downfall, so I ignored all that. I did find some resources that outlined signs of readiness for solids. Dalton didn't seem to have many of those, and he also didn't seem interested when we would sit him with us while we ate. Because of that, we held off. 

A story all upstate NY-ers can appreciate - I told my mom we were waiting until six months and that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that. She thought I said Wegmans recommended that and was like "oh, yeah, ok that makes sense then". If Wegmans could offer literature on parenting advice, I would follow that exclusively and be set for life.

You would think with the decision being made that we were waiting until six months, the agonizing would be done, but you would be wrong. There are endless decisions to mentally grapple with! Next up: what food to start with?

Obviously rice cereal was out. I bought baby oatmeal, but after talking to some other moms and reading up on my friend's awesome resources, we decided to start with vegetables instead. I kind of struggle with being a rule follower, like I was just telling Eric how we got these "To Do" list pads a few years ago at work and all the time I see people just using them as regular paper and NOT even writing any sort of list, much less a To Do list, and he knew without me even telling him how much that upset me. The point is that I was really having trouble going "against" what the doctor said to start with. 

We planned to start next weekend, right before Dalton hits 6 months (that's on a weekday and those are too rushed to take such a monumental step). We were cooking green beans as a side for last night's dinner, and I told Eric I was going to puree some and freeze them for Dalton.

Our green beans
His green beans

 He got all disappointed when I said I was going to freeze them and was all like "oh man, I thought he was going to eat with us tonight!", so we decided to go for it.

First of all, Eric demanded his turkey/egg/hamburger meal be shared on the blog. 

He should have taken a better picture.
Let's do this thing!
He didn't hate it!

He grabbed the spoon and did this - however, he tends to put everything in his mouth, so it may have been meaningless.

First family dinner with all 3 of us eating!
I wasn't sure what to expect. He seemed mainly confused, but didn't make faces or spit it out or anything. We estimate he ate about 1/4 of a green bean in total.

I'm pretty excited to get to experiment with all different foods with him, but it's a little bittersweet. Up until now, he's been 100% dependent on me for nutrition, hydration, and survival in general. I know 1/4 of a green bean doesn't change that, but that's where we are heading and eventually he won't need me for survival. During state testing, when I basically just have to walk in circles in silence for 70-90 minutes, I was having a panicked "he's leaving me and he'll have his own family and never even call!" moment. Which is ridiculous, because by the time he's old enough to do that there's no way we will still be using phones for phone calls. We barely even do that now.

I also devoted part of my weekend to a social media crusade against United Airlines. My friend flew with her baby, two weeks older than Dalton, and when they arrived, she found her car seat straps had been slashed! She was stranded at the airport, with no safe way to transport her infant, and United said "tough luck" and left to her to figure it out herself. My other friend Kari, of former blogging fame, wrote this Buzzfeed article about it. It got over 1,000 views within just a couple hours, so feel free to check it out, share it, or tweet at United with the hashtag #replacethecarseatunited.

What were your exciting St. Patrick's Day plans? Dalton ate a green food, and also I'm making Shepard's pie on the actual day.

When did your kid start solids and what food did they start with? Do you even remember?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Don't forget me

Last week was amazing. Three snow days, and one early dismissal day. I think this week we are going to actually work the full five days, start to finish, which will be my first time doing so since September, thanks to my good friend Mother Nature. It's weird because when I would have snow days while pregnant, I would lament the end of snow days meaning sleeping, watching TV, and eating candy all day. I thought nothing could come close to the joy of hearing the alarm, checking my phone, and turning it off and going back to sleep.


He has mastered the duck face at a young age.

That feeling didn't even come close to the overwhelming happiness I feel now. Thinking I have to say goodbye to Dalton (it's still traumatic each morning) and then finding out I get to spend the whole day with him...incredible.

My friend just reminded me that while he was in utero, I had concerns about us bonding. Because what did I know? At that point I had never even met the guy, who knew if we would like each other?

I think I've pretty well documented that was an unnecessary concern on my part. I'm going out on a limb and saying it's ok on his end too. Here's what he does while Eric holds him.

Stares me down. Side note - Babies R Us just had an awesome bottle sale.
He tracks me and then gets mad when I leave the room. I can't even pretend to be upset. I love it. I think about how one day he'll be a teenager and won't even want to be seen with me and want to cry.

This past weekend we took him to the aquarium with our friends and their son. 

He looks around in wonderment just going from the living room to the kitchen, so all week I was ridiculously excited to see his little face react to all the new things.

 It was pretty awesome, although at one point we were trying to get his attention to show him a really cool fish. He was staring intently at something, and we couldn't figure out what. Finally we realized it was the bright red life preserver hanging above the tank. Babies be crazy, amiright?

This is getting way more sappy than I'm comfortable with so lets take a look at my assignment in my evening class last week.

Thank goodness this class is a pass/fail type situation because if we were being graded, I would definitely fail. Actually, then I wouldn't be certified to teach the unit, which sounds perfect. The class is finally over though so I don't have to go through that torture anymore. Yesterday I didn't see Dalton for 11 hours and it was absolutely horrible.

But daddy/son time is always adorable.
One of many stupid things I did this week was go to Whole Foods after an exercise class when I was starving. I embraced the spirit of blogging and spent a ridiculous amount on nut butter. I am ashamed.

But it has caffeine. And is delicious.
An important task I've tackled recently is doing research to determine the order, in terms of addictiveness/taste, of the three kinds of Cadbury mini eggs.

So far, this is the leader.
I need to complete my research with the regular traditional milk chocolate ones but Walgreens was out last night?! I'm out of coffee though so it's essential I hit the store tonight. Dalton's daycare provider tells me someday I'll be happy to let him stay there a little longer so I can do errands like that without the added logistical challenge of a baby/carseat. Maybe, but I'm not there yet. He likes looking around the grocery store too.

My little farmer.
Ok, I've completed a blog post. Don't forget about me.

Rate the Cadbury mini eggs in order of taste - dark, white, and milk. If you haven't tried all kinds, immediately get some, eat them all, then report back.